Booze

Boulder Spirits Releases Love Your Neighbor Whiskey to Support Marshall Fire Victims

Buy a bottle of Love Your Neighbor whiskey from Boulder Distillery, proceeds go to help victims of the Marshall Fire.
Buy a bottle of Love Your Neighbor whiskey from Boulder Distillery, proceeds go to help victims of the Marshall Fire. Brittany Redding
On December 30, 2021, Ryan Negley watched as a cloud of smoke grew larger, denser and changed color as he stood outside Boulder Spirits, the Boulder distillery where he works. By the time he left, at 3:30 p.m., the main road home from Boulder to Denver was closed, and his detour through Lafayette was fraught with smoke and a lot of confused drivers.

"The smoke was blowing through my car, and you could smell it wasn't wood. It was more like drywall," Negley says, describing the day the Marshell fire destroyed over a thousand houses in the Superior and Louisville neighborhoods.

That following weekend, he thought about the devastation, and by Monday, he knew that he and the distillery needed to do something. Boulder Spirits owner Alastair Brogan agreed, and gave Negley freedom to create a product that could raise money to help the people impacted by the wildfire. 
click to enlarge Deputy Chief Jeff Long of Boulder Fire & Rescue helps bottle a special whiskey. - BRITTANY REDDING
Deputy Chief Jeff Long of Boulder Fire & Rescue helps bottle a special whiskey.
Brittany Redding
The result: Love Your Neighbors whiskey, a special release of 500 bottles at $125 each, with proceeds going to the Community Foundation Boulder County and the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. The goal, says Negley, is to raise $45,000.

"We have enough whiskey around here and I know enough influential people, so the idea with this whiskey was that everyone’s star power could get the word out and we could sell 500 bottles," he says. "This was the best way for us to make an impact, more than just donating money."

To make Love Your Neighbors, Negley was given twelve barrels of spirits to work with. He put four to the side because they weren't ready, and used the others to make four batches of whiskey. Next, he sent the samples to a handful of whiskey experts, tastemakers and literal Boulder Spirits neighbors to help decide which iteration should be bottled. The panel included Nate Woodruff of Whiskey With A View; Nate Winegar of the 5280 Whiskey Society; Dr. Elisabeth Mansfield of Women Who Whiskey Colorado; Colin Wrenn with 303 magazine; chef Hosea Rosenberg of Blackbelly Restaurant in Boulder; and Jessica Benjamin, who runs First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week.
click to enlarge Nate Woodruff flew in to Colorado just to help create this bottle of whiskey. - NATE WOODRUFF
Nate Woodruff flew in to Colorado just to help create this bottle of whiskey.
Nate Woodruff

He also tapped into the tastes of those who helped with the fire: Deputy Chief Jeff Long of Boulder Fire & Rescue, Boulder County Incident Commander Mike Smith, and Wildland Division Chief Brian Oliver.

It took two months to create the whiskey, and in February, most of the panel met at the distillery to make the final blend. The end product is a complex and strong whiskey clocking in at 108.4 proof, a distinct number set in recognition of the 1,084 homes destroyed in the Marshall fire.

"The project is obviously less about the whiskey but more about the gesture and the community," says Negley. "We are in a position where we can help — not with cash, but help with whiskey."

And, he adds, "it's fucking fantastic whiskey."

There are three ways to purchase Love Your Neighbors. Two hundred bottles will be available for pre-order starting March 10 at noon on boulderspirits.com. You can also pre-purchase in person at Boulder Spirits' Vapor Distillers tasting room (5311 Western Avenue in Boulder) on March 10 and 11 from noon to 6 p.m. and March 12 from noon to 3 p.m.

The Love Your Neighbors Release Party will take place at the tasting room on March 12 from 3 to 7 p.m. All purchases include a commemorative T-shirt and sticker, and those who can pick up their bottles during the release party will also enjoy a free pour of whiskey. 
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Linnea Covington moved back to Denver after spending thirteen years in New York City and couldn't be happier to be home, exploring the Mile High and eating as much as possible, especially when it involves pizza or ice cream.
Contact: Linnea Covington